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Working to Equalize Access to Internet Services in Northwest New Mexico

Spend any amount of time talking to John Badal and you get the sense that he has caught a glimpse of the future. Perhaps there’s a blueprint to follow when it comes to getting broadband internet out to all of New Mexico, and the CEO of Sacred Wind Communications has a copy.

But Badal knows all too well that the task of getting New Mexico connected will take effort from more than any one company.

There’s also a bit of a time crunch.

“Covid has demonstrated to us that the solution has to be found in the next two or three years, not the next 10 to 20, as we all thought would happen,” Badal said.

The problem in need of the solution that Badal speaks of is New Mexico’s lack of connectivity. The Land of Enchantment ranks above only Mississippi in terms of internet access, according to 2019 U.S. Census data. That’s 49th.

Within the state, nearly 60% of households in Guadalupe County lacked internet access of any kind. More than 40% of households in five other counties — Quay, Rio Arriba, Harding, Mora and McKinley — lack basic connectivity.

Over the past year, this disadvantage turned into a vulnerability.

More than 350,000 state residents are between the age of 5 years old and 18 years, according to the New Mexico Human Services Department 2021 Data Book. That group required a level of internet access during the pandemic for remote learning that was without precedent.

Meanwhile, U.S. Census projections show New Mexico’s population of adults older than 65 will be among the highest in the country by 2030. Telehealth and virtual medical appointments will go a long way to maintaining the wellbeing of this population.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many rural business opportunities dried up and smaller retailers couldn’t accept online orders.

When it comes to internet access for remote education, virtual medical appointments and day-to-day business functions, without a sustained effort to reach a level of equal and equitable access, these deficiencies will only increase.

Sacred Wind Communications has invested heavily in bringing connectivity to rural parts of Northwest New Mexico, and has ambitions to do even more in the future.

“We’ve told the economic groups that the network and fiber is an economic development asset,” Badal said, adding that as counties across the state work to recruit new companies and diversify the business community, potential clients routinely ask economic development organizations about broadband speeds and infrastructure.

Sacred Wind completed one major portion of that asset in January. The company announced that it finished a 180-mile fiber project that connected Albuquerque and Gallup. Some 10 years in the making, the line doubles up an existing network, meaning an outage won’t necessarily take residential, business and institutional customers offline.

The network also boasts speeds that are future proofed, offering speeds up to 38 terabytes, with capacity that can grow beyond that exponentially as technology demands increase.

So far, Badal estimates Sacred Wind has spent a little more than $100 million to build out internet access in Northwest New Mexico. Half of that figure is from a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan, and much of the remainder came from federal grants.

“The cost and investment also stand to increase because demand and future growth stand to continue to increase,” said Catherine Nicolaou, Sacred Wind’s external affairs manager.

We built a model for the rest of rural America, and a model to provide service in the hardest to reach parts of the country, she said. I think because of our foundation, because of our roots, we’re very much poised to be on the forefront of a lot of that, if we can be. Whether it’s in Northwest New Mexico or the entire state.

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Seniors viewing tablet

Smart Apps to Help Seniors Manage Their Health

As we age, maintaining good health becomes more complex, but it doesn’t need to be harder. Today’s tech-savvy seniors can access an endless array of smartphone and tablet apps designed to simplify the management of everything from physical fitness to diabetes. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below. And remember, you can download these and other great apps quicker than ever before with Northwest New Mexico’s fastest rural and tribal internet from Sacred Wind Communications.

Keep Fit and Eat Well

It’s never too late to learn a new fitness routine or start a healthier diet. Before you choose an app, have a chat with your doctor and discuss which ones may be best for you.

  1. If you love to walk and want to make it more interesting, MapMyWalk will let you track how far you’ve walked, your speed, number of steps, duration, and more. You can also connect with friends and share your routes.
  2. MyFitnessPal lets you log your daily physical activity and track your eating and calorie intake. Share with your friends to make staying active more fun.
  3. With Shopwell, you can make healthier food purchases by entering your daily calorie requirements, allergies, and more. Then use the app to scan bar codes for nutritional information catered to your needs.
  4. Increase your balance and flexibility with daily yoga routines. Ideal for both beginners and veterans, Daily Yoga also includes Pilates and meditation instruction.

Take Your Pills

Gone are the days of setting a timer to remember to take your pills or trekking to the drugstore to talk to the pharmacist about your medications. Now, all the information you need is just a screen tap away.

  1. Pill Monitor Pro will set you back 99 cents, but its many features allow you to set up schedules, manage your medications, and keep logs of everything you’ve taken and when.
  2. Similar to the app above, Pillboxie helps you manage your medications daily. However, it costs $1 more and uses a visual interface to make entering your information even easier.
  3. GoodRX not only provides information on your medications, but it helps you find the best prices, provides coupons, and lets you set up refill alerts.

Train Your Brain

Maintaining mental dexterity is just as important to your overall health as keeping your body fit. The following apps can help keep your gray matter in tip-top shape.

  1. Words With Friends connects you with your pals to play all sorts of word games designed to challenge your brain.
  2. Created by scientists, Lumosity first gets a baseline to figure out your “brain age” and then offers a variety of games that stimulate your mind.
  3. Reading is one of the best ways to keep your brain sharp. With Kindle, you can read all your favorites and find new books to explore right on your phone, tablet, or e-reader.
  4. When you’re on the go but still want to enjoy a good book, open LibriVox. This free app gives you access to a host of public domain audiobooks.

Stay Safe

Safety apps are a wonderful tool if you have a health condition, sometimes have trouble getting around, or travel alone. See if one of these fits your needs:

  1. Red Panic Button is a helpful app that immediately alerts your loved ones if you have an emergency situation or simply don’t feel safe.
  2. Upload all of your medical information to Lifeline Response. If you have an emergency, your phone can be used as a personal alarm system and alert your emergency contacts.
  3. Senior Safety App has lots of bells and whistles, including a fall inactivity alerts that let your loved ones know if something is wrong and get help to you quickly.

Monitor Your Vitals

Remember when portable blood pressure monitors were the latest gadgets? Now there are apps that can help you keep track of a variety of medical conditions.

  1. Use KardiaMobile to take a medical-grade EKG anytime and share the results with your doctor instantly. The separate sensor device, which costs $99, also checks and tracks your blood pressure and weight.
  2. For $99, the portable and compact QardioArm blood pressure device sends its readings directly to the connected app. You can log and track your numbers and share them with your physician.
  3. With Dario, you can manage your diabetes with a tiny device ($79) and a smartphone app. If your glucose reaches a dangerous level, the app uses your phone’s GPS tracking to alert loved ones of your location.

Your best life includes all the things that bring you joy. Whether you love power walking, crosswords, or wrestling with your grandkids, using these practical and fun apps can help you manage your health and stay sharp for years to come.

Download and run these apps faster and with fewer disruptions with internet from Sacred Wind Communications! Call us at 877-722-3393 to get connected today!

Someone typing on a laptop in a computer store

Affordable Computers for the Home

Buying a home computer is like that old cliché about buying a boat: You can spend as little or as much as you want and end up doing essentially the same thing.

The point being, you don’t need to spend a fortune to “stay afloat” and perform the basics of internet surfing, document editing, email, socializing, shopping, banking, and video streaming.

Computer makers know that, and the market is flooded with relatively inexpensive devices that can make it hard to choose. For the average home user, you can begin by deciding between three basic choices: tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Desktop computers require a separate monitor, of course, and aren’t convenient to move around. Because you can get the same features and functionality for the same investment, and often less, in portable devices, tablets and laptops may well be the way to go.

A Shiny New Chromebook

OK, so now, laptop or tablet? Well, tablets―like Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface―begin as touch screens that can accommodate external keyboards. Laptops, on the other hand, begin with the keyboard and can come with touch screens.

The simplest machines are Chromebooks, typically small laptops, which run on Google’s Chrome OS (operating system). Most of the applications and documents are stored in the cloud, not on the device itself, so you’ll need to be connected to the internet to use most features. That lack of hard drive and limited software capabilities results in prices in the $100 to $250 range.

Chromebooks are great for the casual home user, very light and portable, but not really that suitable for people who work and play on their computers. These are not choices for serious gamers or visual designers, of course, and if that’s you, you’re already well aware of your need for speed and size.

Looking at Laptops

As for laptops―which typically run on Microsoft Windows or Apple iOS operating systems—expect to pay $250 or more for a decent model that has the processing power, memory, and storage to handle both home and work duties. They also tend to have larger built-in monitors than tablets and Chromebooks.

Docking stations, which connect a laptop to an external monitor and/or keyboard, generally run from $75 to $150 and are ideal for the user who wants both the big screen and portability, the best of both worlds.

Home Computing Homework

There are multiple sites to review your options online. Educate yourself first, for instance, by beginning with a neutral site like the Computer Buying Guide from Consumers Reports.

Then, once you decide what kind of computer you want, start shopping. Visit stores in person when you can. You might be surprised at how different a keyboard might feel or screen display might look to you in person.

Then, with that knowledge as power, keep in mind that prices change constantly and vary from site to site. Two good places to start your comparison shopping are at Amazon and Best Buy.

 

You don’t have to spend big money to get big functionality in a home computer. Just do your homework to find what you need, and make sure you maximize that connectivity with fast and reliable internet from Sacred Wind Communications!  Get connected today and call us at 844-722-3393!

Laptop sitting on a stack of books

Surprising Ways the Internet Can Help You Study

Although each of us learns in our own way, none of us can learn all on our own. We need resources to help us study successfully, and as with most things these days, there are plenty of options online. Sure, if you aren’t careful, the internet can be a distraction, but if you use it right, it’s the perfect place for students of all ages to learn and retain important information.

Multiple Ways to Learn at All Levels

While some students may be able to absorb all of the information they need in the classroom, others might need to use visuals or interactive play at home for things to really sink in. You can easily find audiovisual and interactive versions of the lessons you’re learning in school on the internet.

If you have children in elementary or middle school, you can find educational videos, games, and articles about a number of topics on websites like National Geographic Kids and BrainPOP.

Students in high school or college can dig deeper into subjects they find challenging by using online lectures and courses such as those offered on Coursera. If you’re interested in higher-level (and higher-priced) courses, you can visit EdX as well. Both offer high-quality online courses. And if you can avoid the temptation of watching cute cat videos, YouTube has a host of resources to help you study, too.

Tools to Help You Focus

It happens to the best of us: we settle in front of the computer determined to get down to business only to find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. If you’re easily distracted, consider downloading programs such as Freedom, WasteNoTime, and StayFocused that block apps and distracting websites from popping up while you’re studying. You can set the duration of time that you do not want to be disturbed so you can concentrate on your work for as long as you need.

From white noise and ocean sounds to steady drum beats and classical music, there are a number of musical selections to help you focus on studying. If nature sounds and Beethoven aren’t really your thing, find your favorite video game soundtrack on an online streaming service. Video game music is designed to help players focus and boost their productivity. So boot up the Legend of Zelda soundtrack and get to work!

Gaming Apps Make Work Interesting

Speaking of video games, there are desktop and phone apps designed specifically to make work more interesting by turning it into a game.

You can turn homework into a real-life RPG with Habitica. To start, you design your character and set the tasks to be completed. Once you achieve your goals, you get upgrades for your medieval avatar and earn rewards.

If you know an RPG game won’t be enough to help you concentrate, then Beeminder might be what you need to take things to the next level. Set your goals, track your progress, and if you stray off the beaten path, you’ll have to pay for it—literally.

Ready to tackle your studies? With these tips and high-speed internet from Sacred Wind Communications, you might be surprised how well you learn with the entire world (wide web) at your fingertips.

 

Family sitting at couch working on laptops

Safe Online Messaging Apps For Kids

Our children are growing up in the digital age, surrounded by technology in all its wonder—and danger. While there are plenty of good reasons to embrace technology, it represents a significant risk for children, who can easily get lured by online predators.

Apps like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Instagram were not designed with kids in mind. Parental controls aside, most kids are savvy enough to get around them if they want. Privacy and protection from harmful content are the biggest concerns. Fortunately, there are several kid-friendly messaging apps that combine safety, accountability, and parental monitoring to give your children what they want in a parent-approved package.

Here are a few ideas for child-friendly messaging and chat apps:

Messenger Kids

Messenger Kids delivers the Messenger experience to your children in a safe, parent-controlled environment. Parents create their kids’ accounts, control their contact lists, and review content through the customizable parent dashboard. Kids can also block and report users themselves, which instantly notifies the parents. There are no in-app purchases or ads to worry about, and users have all the features, stickers, GIFs, emojis, and creative tools they need to express themselves fully.

Kinzoo (6+)

Kinzoo promises a superior experience over Messenger Kids, and as a COPPA-certified app, you can be confident of their commitment to safety. Kinzoo offers a complete range of messaging functionality, including voice, text, video, images, emojis, and pretty much everything they need to get their points across. The video chat features a time-limited setting to encourage more meaningful connections, and overall it’s a great—and safe—online experience for children six and up.

Blinx (8+)

The Blinx app calls itself “kindergarten for social media,” as its mission, essentially, is to give children a controlled environment to learn the joys of online social interaction without the worry. Only your selected “in-crowd” can send messages or share photos, videos, and vemos (voice memos), and your kid can send their own instantly with a single click. Data privacy is assured because messages are only stored on your in-crowd’s devices. If the message isn’t downloaded, it’s deleted from Blinx’s servers for good.

JusTalk Kids

JusTalk Kids gives your children all the fun calling and messaging features they’ll love in a safe environment. One nice bonus is that since it works over Wi-Fi, you don’t need a phone number to get the most out of it; in other words, you can repurpose an older phone that’s not locked to a number or provider. Your kid will enjoy doodles, stickers, games, group chats and calls, and easy connections to family members who already have a JusTalk account. One caveat – it’s a paid app, either by subscription or a one-time fee, but there are plenty of cool features to justify the expense, and they do offer a three-day trial, so you can see what it’s all about.

If your children are clamoring for social connection, there are plenty of safe, controllable, and fun ways to satisfy their needs. Just make sure to look for apps that prioritize privacy and give you the level of control and oversight you feel comfortable with. And when you’re ready to launch, be sure you have great internet from Sacred Wind Communications to support them!

Young child doing homework in front of computer

At Home Learning Strategies

This school year will certainly put a lot of stress on parents, who must unexpectedly navigate the virtual learning landscape on top of their jobs and other responsibilities. How do you keep students, who would prefer to think of the new school year as an extension of summer break, focused on learning?

In addition to having fast and reliable internet from Sacred Wind Communications to power all of your devices, here are a few other strategies to help your students excel during these at-home learning days.

Create a Routine

While the schools and teachers will certainly have a routine during the virtual school day, it is also important to develop a routine at home during the rest of the day. For instance, experts suggest adhering to a regular bedtime on school nights and structuring your morning similar to how it would be if you were attending school in person. This means waking up at a consistent time each morning that allows for breakfast and getting completely ready for the day before sitting down at the computer.

Designate a “Classroom” Space

Whether it’s a home office or the kitchen table, you should designate one specific area in the house as the virtual classroom. When choosing the space, keep in mind a few things:
• It should be low traffic (i.e. not a busy thoroughfare in the house)
• It should be away from the noise of everyday life
• It should have easy access to a plug-in case your device’s battery gets low

Eliminate Distractions

Pets, toys and devices are constant temptations for students learning at home. That’s why it’s best to keep all of them out of your classroom space during the school day. Think of your child’s learning space at home as if it were their desk at school. Anything that would not be allowed on their desk or in their lap at school, should not be there at home either.

Be Mindful of “Screen Time” Overload

While it is good and productive screen time, the virtual school day still counts as screen time, and the simple fact is that staring at device screens for a long period of time is not good for anyone, much less children. Once the virtual school day is over, take a break from screens and spend a few hours offline. Be it playing outside, reading a book, or exercising, give your kids’ minds and eyes a rest from staring at a screen.

Make sure to get your internet through Sacred Wind Communications so you can get connected and keep learning! Call us at 877-722-3393 to get started today!

Cartoon of internet social media platforms

How to Share Memories Online (While Still Keeping Your Kids Safe)

From birthdays and milestones to silly selfies on an ordinary Tuesday, parents have tons of opportunities to share aww-worthy moments online. But does sharing photos with family and friends on the internet put your family’s security at risk? It doesn’t have to!

Check out these tips for sharing those special moments with your loved ones while still keeping your kids safe.

Use the security features

Popular social networks Facebook and Instagram allow users to hide their photos and posts from anyone not on their friends list. As you’re using these platforms to share memories with loved ones near and far, use the security settings to control who sees them — and comb through your friends list to make sure you actually know everyone in your digital circle. Still not sure about hitting that post button? Check out the group messaging features on either platform to share your photos and videos with just a few close loved ones.

Share privately with smaller groups

Did you know there are entire social networking platforms built with your privacy in mind? Apps like Cluster and 23Snaps make it easy to share your photos with a tight and controlled group of people — so Aunt May gets the video of baby’s first steps, but that Facebook friend you haven’t talked to since 7th grade does not. Added bonus: Both of these apps also make it easy to get pictures off your phone and into your hands with the option to create and print simple family albums!

Skip the geotags

It may seem obvious to say you shouldn’t share too much of your child’s identifying info online, but the geotagging features on some social media sites make it easy to do just that without a second thought. For example, geotagging photos from your child’s birthday party can immediately reveal your child’s name, birthdate and location to the general public. If you do decide to share photos publicly, consider skipping the geotags to keep your child safe from those who could otherwise use that identifying information to open unwanted accounts in their name.

Think long-term

It’s tempting to share all the memorable moments you get to enjoy with your little one, even if it’s just to have a record for your own sake down the road! But if you’re posting publicly, consider whether your kids would want those posts popping up when they’re starting to date, apply to colleges or search for jobs. Share happy family memories online, but try to keep private those shots and stories that seem innocent enough now but could be embarrassing down the road — like bath time, potty training developments or temper tantrums.

Talk with your kids

Yes, using social media and the internet safely requires some wisdom and intentionality, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on them all together. After all, your child will soon be using these same platforms on their own. And that’s a good thing! The internet is full of amazing tools for sharing photos, connecting with loved ones and much, much more. Prepare your child to use the best of the internet safely by modeling good practices and inviting them into the conversation now. Ask your kids what they’d like you to share (or not) before posting and discuss how you’re taking steps to protect them as you share those happy memories with loved ones near and far.

With smart practices and a secure connection, the internet can be a great tool for connecting with loved ones. Contact Sacred Wind Communications at 877-722-3393 today to make sure you have the strong, secure, and reliable internet you need to share special memories with those who matter most.

Avoiding Online Scams

Internet fraudsters are always looking to take advantage of increased web traffic and online spending, like we have seen since this pandemic started. However, there are some simple things you can do to avoid falling prey to these high-tech con artists.

Go Phish

Busy people get emails all the time. You tend to lose track of which ones are legitimate and which ones are simply posers. Even emails that seem to come from a familiar person or business can house a scam link.

If you’re ever in doubt, mouse over the link without clicking. If the hyperlink doesn’t match the sender, it’s likely a scam.

Phishing emails are among the most prevalent scams out there, and they come in every shape and form. Fortunately, excellent resources exist to help spot a phishing scam.

Playing on Emotion

Remember the Nigerian Prince scam? While that one is easy to spot, new tactics are much savvier and subtle. Scammers tend to prey on moments of weakness, fear and uncertainty, which they easily create with made-up high-stakes scenarios meant to play on intense emotions. The message often calls for immediate action, forcing you to make a dangerous snap decision.

Some of these include the Relative Imposter Scam. These messages target vulnerable seniors, posing as a family member in need of urgent financial assistance. It can be done by phone or email, and it is insidious because it plays on recipients’ compassion. Beware of anything that calls for swift action or ‘emergency’ emails from your bank. Emotional manipulation can also appear as a fraudulent charity soliciting donations.

Too Good to Be True

Buyers everywhere are always on the hunt for the best bargains, which means that online grifters are also looking to rake in the rewards. You’ve probably heard about someone or something ‘too good to be true?’ Well, the same applies to internet shopping schemes.

We frequently see this in the form of insanely discounted prices for hot items online, especially for the kinds of things that have no business being that cheap. They manifest as fake vouchers, fake links, fake ads or even counterfeit websites. Check and double-check to be sure you know what you’re buying into.

Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes are still a thing! In fact, they’re back with a vengeance. One scheme getting major traction recently is the Secret Sister gift exchange. This particular scam has been around for years, but it keeps resurfacing to bamboozle more aspiring “secret sisters.”

The scam involves buying a gift and shipping it to an anonymous “sister,” which means sharing your private information with someone you’ve never met. Be on the lookout for anything that involves giving out your personal information, such as your email, home address or birthday.  And be especially aware of online altruists – they’re rarely what they seem.

The single connecting factor is that they’re after your money, personal data or both. Be smart and protect yourself this year; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Woman doing yoga watching laptop

Connecting to a Healthier You in 2021

Let’s face it, we’d all like to put 2020 in the rearview mirror as soon as possible and get 2021 off to a positive start. One great way to do that is by committing to a healthier lifestyle, from diet and nutrition to exercise. To make it a little bit easier, we’ve rounded up some great online tools that will keep you motivated and on track.

Read on to discover how a connection to fast and reliable internet from Sacred Wind Internet can connect you to a healthier 2021.

#1:Noom

Noom is a psychology-based online diet tool that focuses on making you more aware of your eating habits, and then helping you change those habits. While there is a subscription cost, Noom comes with all kinds of great resources that are personalized based on your goals, including customized meal plans and workouts. They even provide you with a coach that checks in periodically to make sure you’re on track and to help keep you motivated.

#2: FatSecret

If you’re looking for a free option to help you easily track and log calories throughout the day, FatSecret might be the best tool for you. The tool includes a nutrition database, healthy recipe options, exercise tracker and journal. It even has a barcode scanner to help you track packaged foods. In addition to calories, FatSecret also shows you a breakdown of carbs, protein and fat, which makes it ideal for low-carb and/or high-protein dieters.

#3: Aaptiv

Whether you want to work out at home, in the gym, or in the great outdoors, Aaptiv makes it easy to get a personal trainer’s guidance every step of the way. Simply check your workout suggestions for the day, then tap to stream guided audio workouts for running, strength training, yoga, and more. Each workout is paired with a playlist, so you can move to the beat as you crush your goals. Plus, team challenges, an in-app “team” feed, and a feature that measures your workout streak provide all the motivation you need to get active with Aaptiv every day this year!

#4: MyFitnessPal

As you get fit in 2021, exercise is only half the battle. That’s why MyFitnessPal is here to help you form healthier eating habits, too. This app allows you to set goals, track your food intake, and monitor your progress over time. Plus, the in-app community offers all the encouragement you need to remember you’re not in this alone. You’ve got this!

#5: Shopwell

Does finding healthy options in the grocery store leave you confused and overwhelmed? Shopwell has your back. Start by creating a food profile to set goals, note allergies and health concerns, and even record your likes and dislikes. Then, this handy app will make recommendations for healthy foods to grab on your next grocery run. You can even scan labels to find out instantly whether that snack you discover in aisle 3 is a good choice for your goals!

Are you ready to get fit and healthy in 2021? Call Sacred Wind today to make sure your internet can power the apps and tools you need to achieve your goals!

Medical Care is Just a Click Away

Coronavirus is putting telemedicine in the spotlight as a safer, more efficient way to receive medical help.

It’s a welcome alternative to visiting a doctor’s office, now viewed as a hub of anxiety and potential illness. Additionally, many physicians’ offices don’t offer after-hours appointments or leave you twiddling your thumbs in crowded waiting rooms.

You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use telemedicine, either. It’s as simple as logging into your computer using your fast and reliable internet from Sacred Wind Communications, opening a video chat link provided by your healthcare provider and getting the medical advice and prescriptions you need from the comfort of your home.

Does Your Family Doctor Offer Telemedicine?

If you have a family doctor, check with their office first to see if they offer telemedicine. When possible, it’s a good idea to stick with a doctor who knows you, your medical history and has access to your files, charts and pharmacy information. This ensures that you are getting the best, most consistent care from a physician who is familiar with your health and with whom you feel comfortable.

Ask your primary care physician if their practice has an online patient portal. This system functions similarly to email but offers privacy and security necessary for relaying sensitive medical information and data.

Types of Telemedicine

Some patient portals allow you to video chat with a doctor or nurse from the comfort of your home. Other online portals allow for web-based consultation, which means you click through a questionnaire about your symptoms. This type of assessment is perfect for those with minor medical issues who don’t need an in-person visit.

If your primary care physician is part of an extensive medical network like a hospital, chances are they have a well-established, secure online system. In this case, your patient portal acts as a one-stop-shop for all your medical needs, allowing you to consult with specialists inside the existing framework.

But even if your primary care provider doesn’t have an integrated care system, they may still conduct appointments via video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. In fact, many medical offices use Zoom because it’s HIPAA-compliant! That means it protects all your sensitive medical data, helping you feel safe and secure.

 What You Need to Access Telemedicine

Advances in technology have changed all our lives for the better. But to reap the benefits that telemedicine offers, you need to be able to access those services. With fast and reliable high-speed internet, you never have to worry about losing the connection to your health care provider, even in rural settings.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to stay healthy and look after ourselves. And since you can get medical attention from the comfort of your own home, there’s no reason to avoid professional care and assessment. Better health is at your fingertips with telemedicine, and a good internet connection is the vehicle that gets you there.

Cartoon holiday virtual conference

7 Creative Ways to Connect Long-Distance Family During the Holidays

Special time with loved ones is often what makes the holidays so memorable. But what do you do when those loved ones are too far away to pop over for a big meal and a heartwarming gift exchange? Well, with a strong internet connection from Sacred Wind Communications, there are lots of ways to stay connected.

Read on to discover seven creative ways to video call, swap photos, send gifts and simply stay connected with long-distance family this holiday season.

#1: Skype

Let’s start with the obvious choice. With its long-time history of quality audio and video calls, Skype has long been the go-to choice for connecting with loved ones all over the world. But did you know its features also include low-cost texts and calls to mobiles and landlines, easy group video calling and file sharing and messaging between devices? It’s also easily accessible on a wide range of devices, including your smartphone, computer, smart TV, Playstation and more.

#2: Google Hangouts

If you’re hoping to have a video call with your cousin Jason, Aunt Lisa, niece Jenna and family friend Marc at the same time during your upcoming family gathering, Google Hangouts is the platform for you. You can talk to up to 10 people at a time, do live-streaming video, file share, text message and, of course, make audio and video calls. You can even take photos during your hangout to easily capture the special memories you’ll be making together-yet-apart.

#3: Facebook Messenger

If your family members are skeptical about downloading a new service just to video call you on Christmas, check to see if they’re already on Facebook. The Facebook Messenger app works for text communication, sure, but it also has a voice and video call feature. Simply tap the person in your Messenger contact list, then tap the video icon to begin a video call. It’s easy and free, and no new apps or accounts are needed!

#4: Cluster

Looking to share photos and videos with loved ones without posting them for the entire world to see? No need to start an annoying group text. Instead, meet Cluster. This app features an Instagram-like feed, but only for the people you invite into the group. Create a group for all the family members that want to see baby’s first Christmas or all the friends attending your Friendsgiving feast. And everyone can share their photos in one simple place. Plus, the ability to “like” and comment on photos will keep the spirit of community alive no matter how far apart you may be!

#5: Nixplay

If you’re looking for an easy way to share photos with your not-so-internet-savvy family members, look no further than a Wi-Fi cloud frame from Nixplay. This digital photo frame creates a slideshow of the photos you add, and you can easily use your phone to add more at any time — even if the photo frame is on the other side of the world. This makes this frame a gift that keeps on giving for family members near and far.

#6: Giftster

Picking just the right present for that distant (and possibly picky!) family member can be tricky, so let Giftster do the thinking for you. This free app allows you to create a wish list and add any items you’d love to receive. Then, you can invite family and friends to create lists of their own. Shop from each other’s lists to bypass that anxiety over gifting just the right thing. (Plus, your family members will love how easy it is to find the perfect gift to send you, too!)

#7: Artifact Uprising

We all know how much Grandma loves getting updated pictures of the grands, but creating a photo album can be time-consuming. Help her feel remembered and included this holiday season by using Artifact Uprising to quickly create quality prints, photo books, calendars, gallery frames and so much more. Simply upload photos straight from your Instagram or camera roll, and click to buy. You can even use the gift option to send the photos straight to Grandma!

Each of these tools and apps makes it easy to stay connected with family all over the world throughout the holiday season and beyond. Contact Sacred Wind Communications today to make sure you have the high-speed internet connection you need to power each and every one! You can reach us at 877-722-3393.